Friday, May 29, 2009

Quick Poppy Study

Quick Poppy Study - watercolor - 7" x 9"
I'm starting a new painting, you guessed it, poppies again. I just bought a set of Daniel Smith quinacridone watercolors, so I decided to try them out.
Quinacridones are transparent, extremely vibrant warm colors. Mixing them with other colors, or glazing them on top of colors, makes everything pop.
This little study gives me a feel for the larger red poppies I'm putting into the new 30 x 40 oil painting. I have to wash the colors on big and bold, and worry about the details later, which is sort of counter-intuitive for me; considering I can get carried away with details in a hurry.
So hopefully I can loosen up!

~I will keep the brush happy in my hand~

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Painting at Lake Sacajawea on May 23

oil on linen panel - 11" x 14"
Another beautiful weekend and maybe the last chance to paint yellow irises this season. We set up on a shady bank facing the Kessler side, with reflections of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in the water. I liked the spot because the water was calm.
The irises posed so nicely, they didn't even move once! A little brown duck even floated back and forth for me. I know he wanted to be in the painting so I obliged!
I like how it turned out, sort of capturing the moment, but not too fussy. I refuse to touch up my plein air paintings when I get home. It sort of defeats the purpose of capturing the moment, plus I'm tired by that point and have brushes to clean.
I won't be able to paint next weekend, I'll be at the Salal Spring Arts Festival demonstrating a painting of a Rhododendron, inspired by a photo taken by Anne Chaikin, a wonderful photographer I met on flickr. Anne's screen name is Paint and Shoot!
And finally, Suzanne Amodio, another flickr artist, asked if I could mention her on my blog, so that's what I'm doing. Thanks for sharing your work with me!
~I will keep the brush happy in my hands~

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Painting on The 2009 Salal Review

Rhody - 24 x 30 - oil on canvas - 2003 (top)
The 2009 Salal Review - cover artwork (bottom)
I was honored this year when students and faculty advisors at Lower Columbia College selected my painting for the cover of the college's literary and arts magazine, The Salal Review.
The 2009 issue will be officially released at a launch party in the Student Center at the college on May 30 at 5:00 pm. I can't wait to get my copy and see the other artwork inside, plus read the stories and poems. I know one person who's poem was accepted and she is so excited to be published!
I read all of the previous issues of The Salal Review I could get my hands on, and found the selection of stories and poems to be thought-provoking, sensitive and inspiring. I think the students and faculty do a wonderful job with this publication, and I'm honored to grace the cover.
More about The Salal Review
~ I will keep the brush happy in my hand ~

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Coco's Poppies

Coco's Poppies - size unknown
My friend Coco subscribes to my e-mail list, and after seeing my poppy painting progress, she shared her own poppy paintings! If you've ever seen Coco's artwork, you know it's big, bold and textural. And not necessarily done with traditional art materials. But that just goes to show you, artists cannot be pegged into a pre-defined pattern.
Since Mary's Poppies is almost finished, I've been thinking about the next painting. I want to paint another poppy, but how exactly, I'm not sure yet.
So in the meantime, I'm sharing Coco's work with you. Coco, you need to start blogging ! Here's more about Coco.
We will keep the brush happy in our hands!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mary's Poppies ~ Day 7, and the banana bread

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas - Day 7 (top image)
My banana bread (bottom image)
~The painting is coming together, but I've been so busy that I haven't done much painting lately. Today I spent most of the day cleaning the deck outside my art studio and getting my planters ready to plant poppy seeds I ordered from the One Stop Poppy Shoppe. I tell you, online shopping for poppy seeds couldn't have been easier. I placed my order on a Tuesday and on Friday the seeds arrived, together with planting instructions and a lovely thank you card from the company. I planted them today and hopefully by September I'll have poppy inspirations for more paintings.
I also made a Crock-Pot bean with bacon soup from our Easter ham bone, and banana bread with two uber-ripe bananas. It turned out yummy. Here's the recipe, handed down in the 70's from my Dad's friend Sallie Schott.
Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-1/4 cups mashed banana
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
You can add some applesauce and sour cream if your bananas don't equal 1-1/4 cups.
Cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour, baking soda, salt cinnamon and nutmeg and mix well. Add in the mashed bananas and combine. Stir in the raisins and walnuts/pecans.
Pour into one greased loaf pan. Bake 350 degrees for one hour, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool for a while, then slice and serve. Yum!
Yesterday we painted at Lake Sacajawea, and I already posted my painting, but here's Allan's painting of the yellow irises. He finished it up at home.
Here's the poppy painting progress:
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Painting at Lake Sacajawea ~ and carrot cake!

Done en plein air at Lake Sacajawea11 am, May 16, 2009
oil on linen panel - 11" x 14"
The weatherman said we could expect 80 degrees this weekend, so Allan and I got up early on Saturday, had coffee, and headed for my favorite painting spot at Lake Sacajawea. I was all ready to paint just the yellow irises and their reflections in the water that I'd scoped out earlier in the week. But seeing Allan against the water, combined with bright greens and yellows changed my mind, and I decided to put him in the painting. I had to work fast, because he doesn't sit still long. I think I captured it, just like one of those Impressionist paintings of artists painting in the grass. ~Viola.

While I was painting, Mary called and asked for the carrot cake recipe I made for her birthday, so here it is:

Carrot Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chpped walnuts

Get ready:
Grate the carrots. Drain the pineapple but reserve the juice. Chop the walnuts.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add carrots, oil and eggs. Beat with a mixer until well combined. If mixture seems dry, add pineapple juice bit by bit. Mix in the drained crushed pineapple, coconut, raisins and walnuts.

Pour into two bread pans (8x4x2) that have been sprayed really well with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack. When completely cool, frost with Cream Cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar (or more if desired)

Beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar until frosting is spreadable.

Divide frosting in half, spread top of each cake with frosting and swirl around.

Refrigerate to firm up the frosting. Slice and serve. YUM!

Freezes very well, just wrap up in plastic wrap and foil. I like to put one in the freezer, so I can just slice off a piece once in a while and have it for dessert. I think I'll do that tonight!

Longview and Kelso student artwork

We attended the opening reception for the Longview/Kelso Secondary Schools Art Show. There were so many wonderful artworks, I can't believe how talented young people are today. I snapped a few photos, mainly of paintings that inspired me enough to take a second look. In my opinion, the very best work by far was the pastel painting of a black crow (see top image). It reminds me of The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 6, and Doreen's Poppies

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas - Day 6 (top)
Doreen Fitzgibbon's Poppy painting (bottom)
~Work continues on my painting, bit by bit. I'm still blocking in the background colors and shapes.
One of my mailing list subscribers e-mailed me today to share that I'd inspired her to create her own poppy painting. See Doreen Fitzgibbon's painting (above). Doreen says she's 86 years old, still working in her garden (planting over a thousand flower plants) and painting! Wow! I hope I'm doing as well at that age. Thanks for sharing your work with me, Doreen! I love your painting.
In Doreen's words "We will keep the brush happy in our hands!"
On another painting note, Allan's been painting his blue glass, and his view from the Port. Lucky guy!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 5

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
Day 5
~More blocking in of background and poppies. The little art deco shapes are getting more definition. I'm using a lot of Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson. It's a slow process, but I accomplish a little more each day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 4

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
Day 4
~ I started adding colors to the top left of the painting. The poppies are taking shape, along with the art deco quilt shapes in the background.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 3

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
Day 3
~I bl0cked in the green stem and leaf shapes. Did you notice that another poppy has appeared?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 2

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
Day 2
~Today I blocked in the poppy shapes with Cadmium Red and Ivory Black. I wanted to get a feel for the shapes within the canvas space. I also added some Klimt-like art deco design elements that Mary requested: squares, circles and swirls. So far so good !

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Mary's Poppies - Day 1

Mary's Poppies - 30 x 40 - oil on canvas
Day 1
Mary has a new little place that needs some color. I offered to make a big bright painting for her living room.
I brought over several canvases and we picked out one that fit best. Then she and I sat on the floor with our glasses of wine and sketched out the composition with brown and orange conte. We used a big jug of fake poppies for inspiration. The cat knocked it over twice.
When I got home I roughed in the drawing with Yellow Ochre and Cobalt Blue oil paint thinned with Liquin to a sort of greenish yellow. From there I plan to start blocking in the colors.
I'll post each day's progress, until Mary's Poppies is finished. Then we hope to have an unveiling, along with some wine and snacks!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Have you Ever Done It on Yupo?

Camellias - 8 x 10 - on Yupo paper (top)
Camellias - 8 x 10 - on hot-press watercolor paper (second)
Camellia - 2.5 x 3.5 - on Strathmore trading card paper (third)
Yupo (fourth)
An artist friend asked for help in using his digital camera. During our visit he asked me if I'd ever painted on Yupo paper. I said I'd tried it once, but wasn't that familiar with it. We talked about it for a while.
So like telling a child not to do something, I had to go and do it. That is, paint something on Yupo. You can see the result in the top image. It was like painting on glass and took me a week. Every night I'd come home and add more paint, but it was more like subtracting paint, because every stroke of the brush took off what was underneath. In my opinion, it ended up looking like a pile of mud.
Because I'd intended this painting for a birthday gift, I couldn't very well give someone a pile of mud, so I had to do it over again. This time I used hot-press watercolor paper (second image). The inspiration came from Bev Jozwiak, the watercolor artist who told me she pretty much paints in one shot, that is; no tedious layer after layer. In my last post I wrote (in reference to Bev Jozwiak), "I figure if she can do it, so can I." Now I'm not claiming to be anywhere near the watercolorist Bev Jozwiak is, but it's amazing how a few words of advice from one artist can influence another. This painting took only one day!
The third image is just a small trading-card sized painting I'll use as the birthday card to accompany the birthday gift.
And the last image is, you guessed it - Yupo paper!

So I'll leave it up to you, do you like the hot-press version, or the Yupo version? Post your reply as a comment to this post. Whatever you tell me will influence my next watercolor.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Staring Back: Portraiture at the Sixth Street Gallery

Opening Reception for Staring Back: Portraiture at the Sixth Street Gallery
The opening reception was well attended. The paintings were wonderful, by far the best we've seen this year at the Sixth Street Gallery. There were so many wonderful portraits. We had a chance to talk to Marcus Gannuscio and he posed for a picture in front of his largest painting (top image).
You can see my painting (second from bottom). Yup, that's me in the red scarf, thus the name of my painting: Red Scarf!
Afterwards we walked uptown to the Aurora Gallery and met the artist Bev Jozwiak. Her watercolors are so inspiring. She also paints in acrylic. I always thought good watercolor paintings involved applying tedious layers of watered-down paint. But Bev said she pretty much paints them in one shot. How intriguing! I came home and got out my watercolors. I figure if she can do it, so can I. We'll see.